Native American Nations
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Summary of Deductions

 Native American Nations | Linguistic Families                   

In conclusion, the more important deductions derivable from the data upon which the linguistic map is based, or that are suggested by it, may be summarized as follows:

First, the North American Indian tribes, instead of speaking related dialects, originating in a single parent language, in reality speak many languages belonging to distinct families, which have no apparent unity of origin.

Second, the Indian population of North America was greatly exaggerated by early writers, and instead of being large was in reality small as compared with the vast territory occupied and the abundant food supply; and furthermore, the population had nowhere augmented sufficiently, except possibly in California, to press upon the food supply.

Third, although representing a small population, the numerous tribes had overspread North America and had possessed themselves of all the territory, which, in the case of a great majority of tribes, was owned in common by the tribe.

Fourth, prior to the advent of the European, the tribes were probably nearly in a state of equilibrium, and were in the main sedentary, and those tribes which can be said with propriety to have been nomadic became so only after the advent of the European, and largely as the direct result of the acquisition of the horse and the introduction of firearms.

Fifth, while agriculture was general among the tribes of the eastern United States, and while it was spreading among western tribes, its products were nowhere sufficient wholly to emancipate the Indian from the hunter state.

Indian Linguistic Families of America North of Mexico, 1891

Linguistic Families

 

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